Tumblr launches completely redesigned, faster iPhone application

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The Tumblr blogging service has launched a completely revamped version of its iPhone and iPod touch application. The new Tumblr application is re-built from the ground up and includes a redesigned dashboard interface for organizing blog posts, high-resolution image support, offline mode, and more. The new application is more intuitive and the process of writing and posting Tumblr posts is shorter. We’ve been testing the new app for a short amount of time and it is incredibly well built. Here are some of the other new features:

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Apple starts $500 off Macs, $250 off iPads employee discount program

In late January, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced to employees that a new major Mac and iPad discount program for employees would kickoff at some point in late June of this year. Keeping that promise, Apple, today, has started the new employee Mac and iPad discount program. Apple employees are able to purchase Macs with a $500 discount (excluding the Mac mini) and iPads with a $250 through Apple’s internal employee portal. These discounts come on top of the already-existing 25% discounts. (By the way, bad news for employees: Retina Display MacBook Pros apparently aren’t on the purchase list at this time)

As we reported in January, employees are able to take advantage of this offer every three years, and employees must be with the company for at least three months. Separately, as we previously reported, Apple has moved up scheduled retail raises from September to late June. Some store employees have already been rewarded their raises and we are hearing of raises up to 30% of current salaries. The general average seems to be between $2 and $4. This average changes depending on store performance and the performance of individuals within each stores.

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Foxconn CEO Terry Gou: iPhone 5 will put Samsung’s Galaxy S III to shame

According to several local reports, Foxconn’s Terry Gou made some pretty bold statements at Hon Hai Precision’s annual meeting of shareholders on Monday. While there are a few translations, all seem to claim Gou urged customers to wait for the iPhone 5, “saying that the new model will put Samsung’s Galaxy III to shame.” A report from Focus Taiwan quoted China Times:

Gou said he has made it a lifetime goal to defeat Samsung — “a company with a track record of snitching on its competitors.”… He was referring to Samsung’s action in 2010 of snitching on four Taiwanese companies in an investigation by the European Commission on price-fixing in the flat panel industry…Samsung was exempted from the investigation by serving as a “tainted witness.” … Gou also urged consumers to wait for the launch of Apple’s iPhone 5, saying that the new model will put Samsung’s Galaxy III to shame.

Gou also apparently claimed that Foxconn’s Sakai plant “has an exclusive agreement with Corning Inc., an American manufacturer of glass, on large panel supply,” and his “competitors will not be able to secure any such material if they wished to.” We are going to wait to see if Foxconn issues a statement regarding these quotes, because we know a couple of stories in recent months misquoted Gou… Read more

Retina MacBook Pros run three external displays, refreshed Airs get dual external display support

Picture by Gabor Cselle

While Apple already recognized in its support documents for Thunderbolt that the new Retina MacBook Pro supports up to three external displays (as pictured above from Other World Computing’s recent tests of the setup), it has yet to confirm official support for the refreshed Ivy Bridge MacBook Airs. Today, we get word that the new MacBook Airs indeed support two external Thunderbolt displays thanks to the recent “Mac OS X Lion Update (Mid-2012 MacBook Air)” update that “improves external display support.” Apple has not updated the device’s specs page to reflect support for dual external Thunderbolt monitors.

The image below from OWC shows two iMacs running at 2,560-by-1,440 as Thunderbolt displays, and it shows an LG monitor at 1,920-by-1,200 via HDMI. The post noted “moving images and media didn’t create any lag and we were able to play video on all four displays simultaneously.” This makes the new MacBooks the first to support up to four displays at their native resolution. Note: You could theoretically add even more space with AOC DisplayLink displays.

The refreshed MacBook Air with dual external Thunderbolt displays is pictured above, while the MacBook Pro with three displays is below:
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iCloud, iMessage, seeing unexpected downtime for some (update: back up)

It seems that some of Apple’s web-based services are seeing some unexpected outages right now. Some users are noting iCloud being down, others are having difficulty sending and receiving messages via the iMessage service, some are having trouble accessing the iTunes Store, and it appears that Apple’s Mac and iOS developer portals are not loading. Apple notes on its iCloud Status website that some services are down. We will update when we hear or see more on this issue. Hopefully everything gets fixed up quickly.

Update: Apple now says “normal service will be restored ASAP.”

Update 2: iCloud services are now back up, according to Apple.

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Olloclip for iPhone camera lens kit review

For the past few weeks, we have been testing out the Olloclip iPhone camera lens kit on an iPhone 4S. The Olloclip kit is a camera add-on for the iPhone that provides three external lenses: a fish-eye lens, a macro lens, and a wide-angle lens. The kit is perfect for any photography fan or for anyone who wants to drastically improve the photos they take with their iPhone. Read on for the full review: 

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Otterbox Defender for third-generation iPad review

We’ve been testing out the Otterbox Defender case for the third-generation iPad for a while now, and the case is exactly what we have come to expect from Otterbox. The case is very high quality, rugged, yet still light and thin enough to carry. The Otterbox Defender for the third-generation iPad is essentially the iPad version of the Otterbox Defender for iPhone, so it offers unrivaled protection from dents, scratches, falls, and more. Here’s what you need to know about the Defender for the third-generation iPad:

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